Isn’t it amazing what a successful sports team can do for a community?
I remember what it did to me the first time the Ravens made it to the Super Bowl.
As an eighth-grader, I had scant knowledge of football itself — far less than I do now at 25 — but one thing was certain, as a Baltimore boy I felt connected to something bigger, and I wanted to be a part of it.
Channeling my mindset from back then, I remember that meant owning a replica Ravens jersey. All of my friends had one. I didn’t.
So on the Wednesday leading up to the 2001 Super Bowl, I repeatedly stressed to my mom that I had to have a Ravens jersey to throw over my shoulders. Once I convinced her to go online with me and purchase a”Peter Boulware” jersey, I then explained why it was necessary to pay the hefty fee for next-day shipping to ensure that I could proudly wear my garb at school the Friday before the game. (Lucky for me she caved, but in retrospect, if I had known that Boulware would retire in 2005 and teammate Ray Lewis would still be playing, I would have opted for the Lewis jersey.)
Only a few months off my bar mitzvah, maybe I was a spoiled teenager, but there was something that pulled me to get in on the
excitement of a potential championship football team in Baltimore.
A quick gaze around town today assures me that I was not alone then … and I’m not alone now. People love getting in on the act, and there are oodles of ways to do it. Regardless of how you’re planning to watch the game, or what you’re doing leading up to it, we ought to take a step back and appreciate that we have another opportunity to let a game comprised of 22 men, a pigskin ball and a big green field impact us in such a positive way.
Win or lose, this has been a great season. I can’t wait to enjoy it for at least 60 more minutes.
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